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The Awful Truth - Cary Grant's Most Stylish Movie (even though he doesn't wear the best "look" in the movie)


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Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Awful Truth - Cary Grant's Most Stylish Movie (even though he doesn't wear the best "look" in the movie)

The other day I really watched "The Awful Truth" for the first time. I have seen it before but I was always distracted by something either in the movie itself (the clothes) or in the house (kids).

"The Awful Truth" has to be Cary Grant at his very best. In this movie Cary is soo funny, so physical, so charming and so stylish. When you watch the whole movie and everything that leads up to that famous scene when he falls backward off his chair, well, it is genius and ,to me, the very essence of the Grant persona.

Surprisingly, even though this is Grant's most stylish feature (just beating "To Catch A Thief") the actual best look of the movie goes to the topcoat and tux Ralph Bellamy is wearing in his introductory scene (below).

Bellamy's topcoat is killer - I love the bit of white shirt cuff showing at the sleeve.
This is not because his arm is bent because it also hangs that way when his arm is straight.

When was the last time you saw some shirt cuff under a coat sleeve?
I see it rarely if at all.

Also notice the white pocket square in Bellamy's coat and compare it to Grant ,below, in a similar look from the same movie.
The pocket square and slimmer fitting coat gives Bellamy's look even more refinement than Grant's. (in this case I do think you see cuff on Grant because his arm is bent)
In comparison I think Grant's coat looks a bit boxy and drab.

I do love that they are both wearing a white scarf. Do you think it was cashmere or silk?
I also think it is a toss up on the hair. The strong side-part is making a major comeback (and it is not due to that Mad Men series)

Bellamy also played a similar character in another extremely stylish Astaire movie called "Carefree"
I never realized that one of the old guys from Trading Places was such a fashion plate in his day.

Comments on "The Awful Truth - Cary Grant's Most Stylish Movie (even though he doesn't wear the best "look" in the movie)"


Blogger Chick said ... (8:28 AM) : 

I love your attention to the details. Whenever I see tailoring like that I'm amazed & delighted...especially in modern day clothes.

(I have a lot of old movies that I should be watching).


Blogger Miriam said ... (9:06 AM) : 

Sart, it makes me really happy that you've been giving us a lot of commentary recently. I always love your pictures, but it's the writing that really gets me to see things in a different way.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:13 AM) : 

Oh! What a fab post! How I love that film Cary Grant is superb and Irene Dunne's outfits, pure glamour! I believe movies are a great source of style and I wish you put more examples in the blog.


Blogger notanotherblog said ... (9:45 AM) : 

Oh my God! You and I are swimming in the same brainwaves, Sart. Although I loved Irene Dunne's outfits more. They were very Ghesquiere!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:14 AM) : 

Cary Grant at his best? Not so much.

I'd choose any of the following:

To Catch A Thief, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, or Charade.

My Favorite Wife, Notorious, Topper, or Thirty Day Princess, although for the latter, i may be more smitten with Sylvia Sidney....

But, whatever. It's fantastic to see Grant getting some 'ink' these days. Irene Dunne was a treasure. All of those glamorous dames were.... Where has that gone? There aren't any women like that any more.... No Hepburn, Dunne, Loy, Hepburn, Bergman..... Now i'm sad again.....


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:15 AM) : 

More stylish than North by Northwest? Are you sure??


Blogger Johanna said ... (10:20 AM) : 

"Carefree" is up there with "A Place in the Sun" and "Gilda" for me when it comes to great film costuming. If only all men still dressed like that on the weekends...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:21 AM) : 

As to the scarves...

Bellamy: silk
Grant: cashmere

...because Grant's looks so much more bulky. As you mentioned though, it's likely because his whole look is a bit chunky.



Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (10:25 AM) : 

North by Northwest is one great suit

for me,

To Catch A Thief and The Philadelphia Story would be tied for second place

the drunken scenes with Grant and Stewart in Philadelphia Story are priceless


Blogger The Spicers said ... (10:30 AM) : 

My vote goes to Bringing Up Baby and Philadelphia Story for classic Grant and Hepburn!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:34 AM) : 

I love Cary Grant, but it is always about him... What about Gary Cooper and Gregory Peck? Also very stylish and so handsome!


Blogger Elizabeth said ... (10:48 AM) : 

I remember "Carefree." I saw it a few months ago, and remarked (to myself) what great clothes were in that film.

Say, what about that fireplace in the third photo down?


Blogger Stratos Bacalis said ... (11:46 AM) : 

Great post!!!!


Blogger Jayce said ... (3:00 PM) : 

Thank you! An amazing (and hilarious) film. The thing about Cary Grant is that he is SO funny that in serious moments his charm, ease and style are magnified.

Being able to fall, smile, scowl and laugh with style is so much harder than the one look guys who will only mug the camera with serious intensity. Depth and dynamics... like music.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:17 PM) : 

Sart, I completely agree with your opinion about Grant's style. This movie is one of my favourites since I was studiying cinema in Antwerp. Amazing!

However, ck dexter is also right. He was so nice in Bringing Up Baby...

PS. Love your photos.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (3:28 PM) : 

I can't think of a great Grant look in Bringing Up Baby
but it is funny


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:40 PM) : 

I have to see the movie again, but I'd guess cashmere on the scarves. The way they're holding the shape w/o lustre suggests cashmere.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:49 PM) : 

Hey Sart...I know you're carzy about Grant, but how 'bout some Edward Everett Horton and Adolphe Menjou?


Blogger Rebecca, A Clothes Horse said ... (4:34 PM) : 

The Awful Truth, admittedly quite good, but I would argue his best is "Charade." And he does wonderful backflips in "Holiday" with Katherine Hepburn.


Blogger The Sartorialist said ... (4:40 PM) : 

For Anon 3:49

The scene with Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore in "The Gay Divorcee" is one of my super all-time favorites


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:26 PM) : 

I love old movies. I get so distracted by the glamorous clothes and attention to detail in their outfits I actually forget to take note of the story line. People so rarely dress up like they did in old movies anymore. I think the only show to come close to have so such attention on the clothes was "Sex and the City" and we all know how fabulous Patrica Field is !!!


Blogger Butch said ... (6:02 PM) : 

Ah, to live in a world in which adult dress was a thing and young people aspired to it!

My daily subway commute is, among other things, an occasion for deep despair about everyday dress. It's not that I require others to "dress up," but would rather have them NOT DRESS LIKE CRUDELY SEXULIZED CHILDREN!


Even, and probably especially, when they are.


Blogger tangobaby said ... (6:13 PM) : 

Congratulations on discovering The Awful Truth! One of my favorite films of all time. You may want to look for Ralph Bellamy in Hands Across the Table, with Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray. He gives a very nice performance in that and dresses well.

But my altime favorite clothing watching movie is Midnight with Claudette Colbert and John Barrymore. Her fantasy wardrobe makes me cry, it's so beautiful.


Blogger JLW said ... (8:00 PM) : 

This is the movie in which Carey Grant became Cary Grant, he said that he was imitating the director, Leo McCarey in this role & the style stayed with him for the rest of his career. Leo McCarey was very chic. If you liked this movie please watch My Man Godfrey, the home & fashion is perfect, and there is Carole Lombard!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:45 PM) : 

I'm so glad you mentioned this film! Definitely my favourite Cary Grant screwball comedy. He is so dapper in The Awful Truth. I agree though, his style in To Catch a Thief is great too. Both very different eras, yet his innate sense of style is timeless.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:46 PM) : 

WELL, Im just gonna have to go rent that now ;-)
If only my "so current it sucks" video store will carry it.


Blogger chris anthony diaz said ... (1:47 AM) : 

say… how about throwing joel mccrea (‘foreign correspondent’, ‘the palm beach story’, ‘sullivan’s travels’, ‘the more the merrier’), tyrone power (‘nightmare alley’), william holden (’sunset boulevard‘) gary cooper (‘design for living’), 007 sean connery (especially ‘goldfinger’ and ‘thunderball’), ‘8 1/2’ marcello mastioanni, harry belafonte and robert ryan (both in ‘odds against tomorrow’) into the discussion too? those fellas were swell dressers too ya’ know in the golden age of cinema even!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:31 PM) : 

A little late getting in on this discussion. The Grant/Bellamy duo also works well in "His Girl Friday," with Rosalind Russell.

I also think that Crant is also at his best in "Indiscreet" (with Ingrid Bergman) and "An Affair to Remember" (with Deborah Kerr). His wardrobe in both films is wonderful, and his comic timing spot on.

In "North By Northwest," the scene of him dressing in the hospital is classic. Yellow boxers, and he swtiched from the brogues used earier in the film to cordovan tassel loafers to match the effortlessly casual look used for the final scenes. Timeless. Classic.


Blogger pocketnovella said ... (9:23 PM) : 

that is such a great film! my grandma and i watched it recently during one of our weekly movie nights together. of course, i couldn't get over irene dunn's wardrobe long enough to notice grant.


Blogger WinstonC said ... (7:10 PM) : 

White scarves with evening dress were always silk. However, it's likely these weren't a harsh white but an ivory colour.


Blogger WinstonC said ... (7:12 PM) : 

And there's no lustre to the scarves because they're WOVEN silk.


Blogger Kelly said ... (11:57 PM) : 

Gah! _The Awful Truth_ is my favorite Grant film, too! Not only for the wardrobe department, but the humor is really pitched to perfection by both Grant and Dunne. Such a great film.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:35 PM) : 

I believe the scarves are both a woven raw silk. The only reason I think this is because my father has one that he wears with his top coat (that is just like Grant's but navy). He got it in Vienna waaaay back in the day...I assume its the same type because it looks just like those.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:51 AM) : 

Actually, both scarves are likely to be silk. They are known as opera scarves and all men would have once had them. My father still has the one my grandfather used to wear, and I see men in London wearing them still occaionally. Re: Stella's post, they are unlikely to be raw silk, but they are generally a fairly thick ivory silk fabric, with a fringe at either end.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:08 PM) : 

"Daddy Longlegs" - Fred Astaire - also stellar style!

Your fan in SF...


Anonymous said ... (6:56 AM) : 

The Best movie in the world..Such Class.


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